The Counseling Process

The counseling process can be an intimidating one.  Check out our 7 steps to the counseling process and as always, please talk with us if you have any questions or concerns.  Thank you for exploring this process with us!


Often, the most difficult step of the counseling process is initiating services.  At the Macon CAPS office, that process begins when you call our office or come by the office in person.  Once you have completed this first step, you have taken the big leap towards taking control of what is happening in your life.  On to step 2!


At the Macon CAPS office, your first point of contact will usually be with our administrative secretary.  The secretary will ask you some questions to gather some basic information.  This information includes your name, contact information, enrollment status, and age.  The secretary will also ask you general questions to determine if an emergency is present.  Based on this information, the secretary will provide you with available dates and times for a counseling appointment.  Once you have chosen a suitable date/time, the secretary will give you directions to our office if you need them.  The secretary will also ask you to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your first session.  This will help ensure that all paperwork is completed in time for your appointment.  You are now ready for Step 3!


Up to this point, you have crossed some challenging bridges.  You had to acknowledge that you were in need of counseling and you initiated services.  Now, the first session has arrived.  As discussed in step 2, you will arrive approximately 10-15 minutes prior to the first session to complete initial paperwork.  This paperwork includes gathering basic demographic information, basic history information, contact information, consent forms, and a short questionnaire.  This paperwork needs to be completed prior to you beginning counseling with the counselor.  After this paperwork is complete, the secretary will hand it off to the assigned counselor.  Next up, step 4! 


The initial session might be intimidating, especially if you have never been to counseling before.  Stigma may have impacted the way you think about what happens in a therapy session. In our offices, we attempt to make our clients feel as comfortable as possible, without adding to any pre-existing thoughts or fears you might have about counseling.  We do not use big couches, or put you through a series of daunting assessments.  We simply have a conversation with you.  We attempt to get to know you and start to build a foundation that can be used as a springboard for your therapuetic growth.  We start where you want to start.  This first session is merely an opportunity for us to get to know you.  Now we are off to step 5!


In our first session, we get to know why you are coming into session.  In the second session, we delve into a little bit more history.  We save this for the second session, because sometimes a student just needs to decompress in that first session without needing to go through a number of questions assessing ones life situation.  This second session is where we really strengthen the foundation that we started to build in the first session.  Ready to head to step 6?


We have found that the average number of visits for students is approximately 5 sessions.  With that said, this number is not anything to live by.  We have some students who only come once and other students who come their whole college career.  Therefore, after your second session, you and your counselor will work together to determine the length of time that is needed to work through whatever your presenting concerns might be.  Frequency and duration of sessions is mutually discussed throughout the course of treatment.  Once the counselor and student determine that sessions are no longer needed, step 7 occurs!


By this time, you have been seeing your counselor and have been working on concerns you brought to sessions.  You may have found relief or acheived progress, and now you are ready to say goodbye.  You may not need or want counseling again.  You may be taking a break because it is the end of the semester, or the summer has arrived.  Whatever the reason, a final session will occur that will give you some feedback and information for where you go now.  Your counselor might provide you with referrals, books, contact information, or purely give you a simple goodbye.  Know that you can re-initiate services down the road if the need arises.  Hopefully the experience was rewarding and provided you what you were looking for.  However, we acknowledge that counseling is not for everyone, so if you did not get to experience the relief that can come from counseling, maybe there is something else out there that can help.  Talk with your counselor to explore what these other options might be.  Stay healthy.